When we moved from California I always remember my mother lamenting the fact that there was no Trader Joe's in Austin. In particular, she grieved her loss of their frozen mushrooms. For her, the kitchen was never the same in a world without Trader Joe's. Cut to 15 years later, and she has finally made it through the five stages of grief - but only because they opened a Trader Joe's in Austin.
Suffice it to say, I did not grow up steeped in the grocery knowledge that Trader Joe's offers the general public. I had to make do without excellent frozen food, fairly priced organic products, and two buck chuck. Unlike my mother who knew what she was missing, I grew up blissfully unaware of what a lack of Trader Joe's products meant for my culinary education. However, as soon as one appeared here in ATX, it didn't take long for me to fall under the store's spell.
Today I shop there regularly. I even have the canvas totes to prove it!
While it is not the only store I'll buy groceries at, there are a few products that only Trader Joe's has and that I cannot live without. What are they? Check them out.
1. Cold Pressed Juice
Yes, you can get cold-pressed juice at many juice bars. But how many supermarkets sell them after they're pressed in store? Yeah, it's good stuff.
I just love avocados. Seriously, I was on the avocado train long before it was cool, and I found out in college that Trader Joe's had nice ones.
Not only were they nice in the summer though. No, they were good all the time, even when they should be out of season! Needless to say, I buy my mid-winter avocados from there.
3. Cranberry Chevre
Goat cheese is good. When you smother it with a sweet and tangy cranberry coating, it becomes great.
In particular, I like these because they come in 8-ounce logs instead of 4 ounces. It's twice as nice!
4. Coffee Mochi
I just haven't found coffee-flavored mochi anywhere else. Ok, I found it once in Japan, but since I live in America I'm keeping it local.
So locally, I have found this delicious little treat nowhere except Trader Joe's. And because it's tasty, I buy it.
5. Himalayan Pink Salt
I was never a big salt lover. My mother didn't cook with it very often. However, I discovered the error in my ways when I tried Trader Joe's Himalayan Salt.
Now I'm afraid I'm going to give myself hypertension by putting this on everything.
6. Divine Dip
This is not just a dip. It's a salad dressing, a sauce, a condiment. You name it, it's good on it.
One of my favorite ways is to use it as is a dressing cut with rice vinegar.
7. Crispy Snacks
Snacks are good and bad. Personally, I try to make them better by buying ones that are reputable and healthy.
Thankfully, Trader Joe's is chock-full of healthy snack options like that. Plus, they're yummy!
8. Black Truffle Oil
Oils in general are fairly priced for their quality here.
Even specialty ones like truffle oil are affordable, which is exciting because the flavor of truffles is absolutely coveted in my kitchen so this gets used generously.
9. Matcha Green Tea
Again my love for Japanese food is showing, but I'll defend myself by explaining that besides being delicious, matcha is a great way to get caffeine without the jitters. Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive.
Once again, Trader Joe's comes to the rescue and offers a great product for a good price. So now, I can confidently take a packet off the shelf and not have to worry that it will hike up my grocery bill dramatically.
There is just such a good price on oranges here. But they aren't just ordinary oranges. No, you can get blood oranges, tangelos, sumo mandarins.
There's just so much fun citrus here, it's hard not to try it all!
11. Cookie Butter
If you've had this, I do not need to explain to you why this is on the list.
If you haven't, just know that this is the best treat that you can spoon-feed yourself.
Simply stated, Trader Joe's is the only place I can afford to buy flowers every week.
And since flowers bring me an extremely high happiness ROI for money spent, I definitely do buy them.